Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - June 4, 2008

Pete's Musings
A week ago a father and son crew from Chazy, NY, finished a 40 acre tile drainage project on the farm. For those of you who are uninitiated, tile drainage is perforated drain pipe that is buried in the soil-usually 4-5 ft. deep. The tile covers the southern half of our main field that has always been too wet for ideal vegetable conditions. A map of the drain pipe lays like a huge fish skeleton across the field. The pipes are every 30 ft, the highest density drainage commonly installed. They laid the pipe with a huge bulldozer with a massive arm on the rear that drags behind the dozer at a depth of 5 ft. The pipe is on a huge coil that unwinds as the dozer drives. It is a great system because unlike drainage that is performed with an excavator or backhoe there is little soil disturbance. The depth control on the arm on the rear of the dozer is controlled with a laser. In one section of the field the pipe only drops 1/2 in. every hundred ft. We are very excited to have completed this project, and while expensive, it will dramatically increase the productive capacity of our farm. - Pete

Summer CSA Sign-Up
Next week is the final Spring Share delivery. The Summer Share starts on the 18th. If you would like to stay with us, please get your enrollment to us as soon as possible. Time is running out to make sure that we order enough Localvore share items for any last minute folks who want to sign-up. We will do a final count on Monday. You can still sign-up after the 9th, we just can't guarantee we'll be able to deliver the localvore items for you on the 18th. We would have to either catch you up or refund a portion of your payment to compensate you for any missing items.

To enroll, please print off the sign-up form from our Website and mail it in with your check(s). It's the best and fastest way to make sure that your share gets recorded.

Pew Commission Releases Report on Industrial Farm Animal Production
The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production recently released a comprehensive, 100 page report on the state of farm animal production in the United States. Its conclusions were not surprising. The current methods of animal farming are harming the environment, public health and rural communities as well as the animals themselves. The Pew Commission went on to develop recommendations to protect what is best about American agriculture and to help to ensure its sustainability for the future. You can read the full report on the Pew Website. They also have a press release that summarizes the findings. Though followers of industrial agriculture may not find anything new in this report, it is heartening to see that larger institutions, including the Pew Foundation and John Hopkins, are starting to take notice and recommend change in spite of the roadblocks put up by industrial ag.

Pete's Greens Farmstand
We are very excited to be opening our farmstand for the season on Saturday, June 7th. Chris has been working hard to get all of the renovations completed. And, Heather is eager to stock it up and get open for business. The farmstand will be open 10am to 7pm, 7 days a week. Please stop by if you are in the area.

This Week's Share Contains
A Mix of Chioggia and Forona Beets, Gilfeather and Goldball Turnips, and Rutabagas; Bunch Scallions; Ruby Streaks Mustard Greens; Bunch Beets; Head of Green Cabbage; Head of Lettuce -or- Bunch Radishes; Bunch Basil; Braising Greens; Blythdale Farms Brie; Champlain Orchards Northern Spy Apples; and Champlain Orchards Squash Puree.

Storage and Use Tips
Basil - So missed over the cold months, no other herb heralds the arrival of warm weather like basil does. Enjoy these first stems! Stand upright in a glass of cold water in the fridge and cover loosely with a plastic bag.
Mixed Roots - Store loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge. Use within the next week or two.
Brie - Once brie is opened, store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator and use within a few days. Bring to room temperature before serving. If the cheese becomes too runny or smells of ammonia, it indicates the cheese has been aged too long.
Squash Puree - As the puree has bee previously frozen, store it thawed in the fridge. Use within the week.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Bread News
We should have had bread with this week's Brie, but it just didn't work out that way. I have always known that the Pete's Greens localvore CSA model is cutting edge, and was reminded of that again last week. We are in the unique position of creating demand in a market before the supply is consistent. Last week I had a call from Blair and Andrew of Elmore Mountain Bread. Their local flour source was suddenly unavailable. And this not only affects Elmore Mountain, but also Patchwork Bakery and Red Hen, who would be baking for us this summer.

These bakeries have been purchasing Quebec grown flour to make the localvore loaves. Meunerie Milanaise ( is a grain farm and mill in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. They mill their own grains and also grain from other farms. The local grain supply has run out and now they are milling wheat from Saskatchewan. They will not be milling locally grown wheat again until the fall harvest. There are potentially a couple of other options that are being explored. Blair and Andrew have a baker and miller friend in Crown Point and they are connecting with him. We also have Ben Gleason's whole wheat flour and the bakers are going to test recipes with his flour as well. So, there is hope!

It remains to be seen how often they will continue to bake localvore loaves for Good Eats. After discussion with Pete and other staff, we decided to stick with our mission of providing truly local products. We want to provide bread made with locally grown flour. While this may mean less frequent bread, it seems the right thing to do. We are committed to sourcing hard to find and unique localvore goods, even when they prove very hard to find!

In any case, you can still purchase other breads from Patchwork and Elmore Mountain, so don't despair. Support these terrific local bakers by visiting them at a Farmers Market near you. Elmore Mountain sells at the Stowe Farmers Market on Sundays. Patchwork is at the Hardwick Market on Fridays from 3-6 pm. Red Hen sells at the Montpelier Market on Saturday mornings. All of these breads are also available at local Co-ops, general stores, and even Hannaford's in Morrisville!

Champlain Orchards Squash Puree
Now some of you may be wondering why I have included the squash puree as we gear up our harvest of fresh produce. I planned this delivery weeks ago when our greenhouse production was still uncertain. But that's not the only reason. It is a nice change from all the greens, and it provides a pleasant contrast to cook something sweet and rich tasting. We are also excited to support Champlain Orchard's endeavor to grow and process this squash. I heard Bill Surh in a workshop early this spring where he talked about this project. They were cooking butternut squash and pureeing it before packing into quart containers for the freezer. It's a great convenience localvore product I hope you will enjoy. It makes the soup recipe in this newsletter a snap to make, with no peeling, chopping, etc for you to struggle with!

Raw Beet and Apple Tabbouleh
Adapted from Serves 4 as an appetizer.

2 cups cooked barley or mixed cracked grains
2 small red beets
1 apple
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Peel beets. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife separately cut beets and apple into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Separately cut beet and apple slices into 1-inch-long julienne strips. In a blender or food processor puree basil with oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste until smooth.

Toss beets, apple, and about 1/4 cup dressing with barley or grains to combine. Serve tabbouleh with remaining dressing on the side.

Warm Mixed Greens
You can make this recipe with the loose braising greens in your bag, or chop the red streaks and/or beet greens. Adapted from Food and Wine. Serves 4.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds braising greens
2 tablespoons water
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter in the oil. Add the greens and water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over high heat until wilted and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and serve.

Chilean Bean Stew
From the Moosewood New Classics cookbook. Here's a recipe for a traditional summertime stew from Chile. According to the Moosewood cookbook it's traditionally made with fresh corn and fresh shelled red or white beans.

2 tbsp oil
2 c chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
black pepper
red pepper flakes
1 quart squash puree
vegetable broth or chicken broth as needed.
3 c corn kernels
3 c pinto beans, cooked
1/2 c chopped basil
grated cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a soup pot and saute onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper to taste. Saute until onion is golden and fragrant. Stir in the squash and thin to desired consistency with broth. Add in the beans and corn and bring to a simmer. Taste for salt & pepper. Mix in the basil and serve with a sprinkle of grated cheddar.

Squash Bread
Without bread in the share this week, it seemed natural to include a homemade version, even if it is a quick bread. Serve a piece of this pumpkin-inspired bread alongside sliced apples and a wedge of brie.

2 1/2 cups maple or white sugar
2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
2 cups squash puree
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Whisk sugar and melted butter in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Whisk together flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture. Mix in walnuts, if desired.

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe that by pumpkin-mixture you mean squash puree mixture? :)